Season 2: Episode 5b Research Practical
”I don’t remember murdering someone” sounds bizarre, but for some this testimony has helped them to be absolved of a murder charge. And vice versa, a defendant can face years in prison for an abuse accusation which is based on a repressed memory testimony. But how can it even come down to this?
Unfortunately, some therapists claim to be able to uncover thoughts about traumatic events that patients were apparently not aware of. Actually, there is no scientific evidence for the concept of repression, which is unconsciously repressing traumatic memories. One would presume that the topic is no longer an issue since it had its peak back in the 1990s and was referred to as “memory wars”, but unfortunately the debate is still going on. Therefore, a young woman may be convinced by her therapist that she has been raped and files a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator.
Not only is repression present among psychotherapists, but also some lawyers and prosecutors believe that repressed memories can be used as valid testimonies. This has caused many miscarriages of justice and can ruin an individual’s life. We aim to do justice to the current state of knowledge about memory in the courtroom as well. In order to test future jurists, law students have to rate the veracity of statements about repression. To see if their expertise is actually more knowledgeable, we will compare their results to ratings from the general public on the same set of statements.
And in order to find out whether a lawyer can actually help you in a law case, stay tuned!